It’s a whole different work world in 2020. Stats show that millennials comprise half the American workforce, and the vast majority prefer to telecommute. Work schedules aren’t 9 to 5 anymore, people are plugged in all the time, and as businesses increasingly operate globally and continue to merge and acquire, they are looking for solutions to match this dynamic environment while also meeting rigorous security and compliance standards. These are just some of the reasons why virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is more prominent than ever.
While enterprises have been leveraging VDI for over a decade, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are slowly but steadily catching up, as SMBs also want to implement flexible policies that entice the best talent in the pool while also ensuring data security and compliance standards are met. However, more often than not, SMBs do not have the resources to implement on-premises VDI solutions, as they can require huge upfront investments and maintenance of back-end hardware infrastructure and software components.. If the VDI is on-premises, all of the applications are centralized, which has the potential to impact multiple users across geographical boundaries, rather than a single user. If we want to reduce those risks, huge upfront costs are required to make the infrastructure highly available on-premises.
As you can imagine, most SMBs do not have the financial resources to do this. This is where Amazon WorkSpaces comes in.
How Does Amazon WorkSpaces Stand Up to the Challenge?
Amazon WorkSpaces is essentially a traditional, full-desktop service in the AWS cloud. It is easy to implement and allows you to provision virtual desktops for an unlimited number of users. Because it is fully managed, AWS handles patching and management of the desktop environment and has a cost-effective pay-as-you-go model which can be billed hourly or monthly. Poof – suddenly there is no need for huge upfront investments in infrastructure.
Amazon WorkSpaces not only offers scalability but also comes with mandatory Microsoft Active Directory (AD) services which are included with the WorkSpaces cost. Each Amazon WorkSpaces user also gets 50 GB Amazon WorkDocs 50GB subscription. Amazon WorkDocs is a fully managed, secure content creation, storage, and collaboration service, and with WorkDocs, you can easily create, edit, and share content anywhere on any device.
Because Amazon WorkSpaces is an AWS service, it is setup in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and can integrate network security with inbound and outbound security rules. If the business wants to deploy services in EC2, this allows the applications on Amazon WorkSpaces to easily connect to the servers like in a local network.
The Many Benefits of Amazon WorkSpaces:
Easily manage desktop deployment centrally for all users in the building or on the other side of the planet - WorkSpaces are available across 12 AWS regions and can provide high-performance cloud workstations anywhere teams need access. Also, if a company suddenly needs more WorkSpaces, it’s easy to add as many as needed.
Choice of end user device - Amazon WorkSpaces supports a multiplicity of devices – Windows and Mac computers, Chromebooks, iPads, Fire and Android tablets, and Chrome or Firefox web browsers.
Make sure data is secure, no matter where it’s accessed from - Since no data is stored on the local device, and all data flows through enterprise-level encryption independent of the network access point, sensitive information is safe, even if it’s being accessed from the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks or from an airport as it is from behind the company firewall.
Easy reconfiguration of resources – WorkSpaces can be dynamically modified with additional power or capacity as the use case demands.
Easy VDI for SMBs - With Amazon WorkSpaces, it is easier to administer desktops than most ever thought possible. When it comes to provisioning, deploying, maintaining, and recycling, there’s less hardware inventory to keep track of and no need for a complicated virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that won’t scale.
Ease of Deployment and Application Management - The initial setup deploying applications and migrating data may take some configuration time. But once you establish it, it’s simple. Amazon WorkSpaces provides a fast and secure way for you to package and deploy updates to your organization’s desktop applications.
Integrates with AWS monitoring services – CloudWatch monitoring integrates with Amazon WorkSpaces and makes it easy to monitor systems for performance issues.
Amazon WorkSpaces definitely opens the door for SMBs to reap the many benefits of VDI without upfront investment in hardware and software infrastructure. It can even help a small business go completely serverless without compromising on productivity and security.
How AWS Can Help SMBs Go Serverless
With AWS managed services like Managed AD, Amazon WorkSpaces, Amazon WorkDocs, RDS and also EC2, SMBs are no longer required to manage servers on-premises. AWS can now manage servers for organizations, empowering SMBs to go completely serverless.
Because these services integrate with each other seamlessly, it makes it even easier to transition to the cloud. As it stands now, the majority of SMBs have IT infrastructure that consists of Microsoft AD, email servers, client-server applications, database servers, some sort of file share infrastructure. Leveraging AWS, you can replace all of these workloads along integrated monitoring using AWS Cloudwatch and auditability with AWS Config and AWS Cloudtrail.
AWS managed AD can help replace the inhouse domain controllers with a highly reliable AD service provided and managed by AWS. Additionally, by leveraging AWS, you have the ability to replace in-house file shares and servers with services like WorkDocs, S3, EFS, and Amazon FSx for Lustre. Amazon WorkSpaces can enable SMBs to run their applications while running the application servers on EC2 and AWS RDS.
The time has never been better for SMB companies to be able to bulletproof their businesses, scale effortlessly and efficiently, and innovate seamlessly at low cost.
Transition to a Remote Workforce
Amazon Workspaces provides fast and secure access to company data, and users can store their files on their WorkSpace instead of downloading them to their local computers.